New details have emerged over Leonard Fournette’s impending release, as it turns out he was the one who asked to be let go by the Buccaneers this offseason.
It’s going to be an offseason of change in Tampa Bay, with the Buccaneers both looking to the future while also trying to remain competitive in the meantime.
A lot of things are going to look different, though, as the Tom Brady era is officially over and pieces of the facade continue to fall off. In addition to Brady, starting running back Leonard Fournette is going to be elsewhere next season as well, although he’s going to be playing football rather than sitting at home.
Earlier this week it was reported that Fournette would be released by the Bucs ahead of free agency beginning on March 15th. It’s not terribly surprising news as the team faces some tough decisions as it attempts to get back under the salary cap — of which it’s roughly $55 million over.
What has come as a bit of a surprise is how Fournette’s release came about. Initially, it sounded like the team made the first of those many aforementioned hard decisions but it turns out the idea came the other way.
According to Rick Stroud from the Tampa Bay Times, it was Fournette who asked to be released, and he asked much earlier than this past week.
“I asked after the season to be (released), and they respected my wishes,” Fournette said. “So no bad blood.”
Buccaneers news: Leonard Fournette reveals why he wanted to be released
Before anyone starts kicking up dust about a star player wanting out of Tampa this offseason, Lenny made sure to note that he didn’t ask to be released because of any bad blood that exists between him and the organization.
“Winning is everything,” Fournette said. “That’s all. And in my last three years here, that’s all we’ve done. But since my guy (Brady) left, that’s why I came, so my time here was up.”
It makes sense, and it’s hard to believe that Fournette is the only player in the locker room who feels that way. As much pride as guys took in flying the BUccaneers flag, many of them were here for Brady and to win a Super Bowl.
For what it’s worth, that happened.
Now the bill has come due, though, and the price paid will be more than what the front office kicked down the road to afford these last three seasons.
Fournette’s release still stings, as it once again hammers home how different things will be next season and how the fruitful era fans just experienced is over. Success can still be had in Tampa Bay, but it won’t come the same way it has.